Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A better president

The Manchester Union Leader suggested that if Bush were a "better" President he would have flown directly to the disaster in Louisiana. Somehow this seems to me like a terrible oversimplification. Is it not the case that if he were a better President he would not have lied to involve us in an immoral, illegal, unconstitutional and unnecessary war? If he were a better President would he not have taken a five week vacation while the world is turning into an utter disaster? If he were a better President would he not be at least attempting to curb the Israelis and advance the peace process in the Middle East? If he were a better President would he not have insisted that Karl Rove come clean about outing Valerie Plame? And etc., etc., etc., etc. If he were a better President perhaps he might have told the truth at least once during his reign in office. Oh well, what can we expect from a President anyway?

Somewhere I saw today that the results of some poll or other claimed that Bush has only a 45% approval rating. ONLY A 45% APPROVAL RATING!!! How in the hell can he possibly have a 45% approval rating. Surely the rate of insanity in the U.S. is not that high? I can't imagine he can have an approval rating of maybe 10%, tops. Oh, I forget, he supposedly has a base of 30%. If that is still true it is frightening beyond belief. Can there possibly be that many fundamentalist loonies like Pat Robertson? Please someone, say it ain't so.

Cindy Sheehan is on her way to Washington D.C. She says they will now target the Congress as well as the President as they are complicit in this obscene business in Iraq. Right on! Go for it Cindy! Bush doesn't care what she does as he is not going to be up for election. But members of Congress are - maybe, just maybe, they will have to pay attention (and hopefully pay the price for their complete dishonesty).

Pat Buchanan has apparently made noises about impeachment. He wants Bush to be impeached because of his failure to deal with the problem of immigration. Imagine! Immigration! Never mind the lies about going to war in Iraq. Never mind the obvious war crimes. Never mind the blatant war profiteering. Never mind the torture and violations of treaties and corruption and attack on the environment, and on and on. It's immigration that is bother Pat Buchanan. Gag me with a spoon.

These are bizarre times indeed. Our collective insanity will surely run its course.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Estate Tax

Can you believe it? The United States is currently in debt to the tune of more than SEVEN TRILLION dollars and what are our legislators doing? Why, they are about to eliminate the estate tax (which they label, conveniently enough for them, the death tax). By eliminating this onerous burden they will allow two percent (2%) at most, to avoid paying any taxes on their estates. These are the richest, by far, of all American taxpayers. Thus if you happen to have a billion or more (which you can't possibly spend) you will be able to leave it to your heirs who can then turn it into more billions that they can't spend. So much for the public good. The fact that they would even consider this at this moment in time suggests to me a serious form of insanity which seems to be characteristic nowadays of our elected officials. This obscene proposal has apparently already been passed in the House (does that surprise anyone?) but still has to pass the Senate (don't assume Senators are any more sane that Representatives). It's the American way, them as has, gets. The poor are only poor because they are too lazy to work. Besides, they can't afford tickets to move to China or India where they might find a job working for American firms.

Speaking of such things, would someone explain to me how it is that Toyota and Mishubishi can afford to build billion dollar plants in the U.S. and hire American workers while American firms claim they have to move overseas in order to compete? Do they pay Wal Mart wages? Do they get such huge tax breaks it makes it worthwhile? What?

Someone in Britain has suggested that perhaps Judith Miller is herself a CIA agent and that is how she knew Valerie Plame. Actually, I would not be surprised to learn eventually that Osama bin Laden is still a CIA asset. But I'm really not much for conspiracy theories. As near as I can figure out the entire Bush/Cheney operation is nothing but a gigantic conspiracy to transfer taxpayer money to an elite group of the already filthy rich.

I sign a lot of petitions none of which seem to produce much in the way of results. I will not sign the current buzzflash petition to the effect that either the Bush twins join the military to go to Iraq or else the troops come home. It's a really stupid idea. Besides, why endanger the troops any more than necessary?

Still waiting to get some closure on Plamegate, Edmondsgate, Gannon/Guckertgate, torturegate, Halliburtongate, slimeCindygate, medicaidgate, pharmaseuticalsgate, and Iraqidisastergate, to say nothing of 9/11gate, stolenelectionsgate, JohnRobertsgate, and Tom DeLaygate. I never give up hope because apparently I am really stupid. Be of good cheer.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Good versus Evil

George W. Bush, may his tribe decrease, is fond of seeing the world and its activities as a contest between good and evil. I suggest there is a classic example of this conflict going on at this very moment in Crawford, Texas, adjacent to Bush's pig farm.

Think of it. On the one side is Cindy Sheehan and her anti-war supporters. They believe that Bush/Cheney and the neocons lied to start a "war" in Iraq. A "war" that is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, and was unnecessary. The reasons they gave for starting this immoral busines had to do with the existence of WMD's, biological and chemical weapons, planes or rockets that could attack the U.S., and relationships between Sadam and Osama bin Laden. All of these claims have now been exposed as totally false. Now they have claimed that the goal was really to promote democracy in the Middle East and to get rid of a nasty dictator. Both of these claims are also demonstrably false. The true reasons have never been disclosed although they pretty obviously have to do with invading a helpless country that happens to sit upon a huge reserve of oil which the U.S. desperately needs to control. To invade a sovereign nation which is no threat to you is a war crime. To do so to gain control of their natural resources is a war crime. To torture prisoners taken in such a situation is a war crime. To hide prisoners from the Red Cross is a war crime. War profiteering is also a war crime. Being an occupying power and failing to provide for the citizens of that occupied country is a war crime. There seems little doubt that all of these things are involved. Cindy Sheehan and her followers want to know if this is the "noble cause" their sons and daughters died for. A perfectly reasonable question it seems to me. They have received no answer.

On the opposite side of the good versus evil battle in Crawford is a caravan of pro-Bush supporters, probably financed by Republicans and conceived by Karl Rove. Their mantra seems to be simply that "Cindy does not speak for us." They provide no explanation whatsoever as to why the "war" should be supported. That is to say, they don't specify the "noble cause." They say things like "stay the course," "we can't just cut and run," "fight them there so we don't have to fight them here," and other slogans that do not speak to the question of why we are doing this. They don't specify the "course," we almost certainly should "cut and run," and fighting them there is completely a result of our own doing. "They" weren't even there until we started this miserable and unwinnable business. If the pro-war group gets their way we will be involved in an endless "war" that will simply kill more and more people, bankrupt the U.S., alienate us from the rest of the world for a very long time to come, and now probably result in the creation of an Islamic state where previously there was none. Iran will have won and women will surely have lost. Before this is over there will most likely be a civil war where even more lives will be lost.

Can there be any doubt in this contest where good and evil reside?

"We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if it were, stifling it would be an evil still."
John Stuart Mill

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The master of disaster

Remember "if the glove doesn't fit you must acquit?" A phrase that the late Johnny Cochran used to great effect on a group of apparently not very bright jurors who did not like white women marrying black superstars. "Master of Disaster" is a phrase that I just saw recently that seems to perfectly describe George W. Bush. Is he not truly a master of disaster? Everything he has ever touched seems to have turned out to be a disaster. His failing oil companies, his failed service in the military, his disastrous academic career, his disastrous attack on Social Security, and now his ultimate disaster - Iraq. I guess one might argue that his investment in the Texas Rangers baseball team was not a disaster as he ended up a wealthy man as a result of it. But that was a con job engineered by others and Bush was just allowed to go along with it, cheating the taxpayers to line their own pockets. I like the phrase, master of disaster. It's perfect.

I don't remember the line perfectly but it went something like this: In my line of work you have to keep repeating the same thing over and over so people will understand the truth. It's like catapaulting the propaganda. Bush actually said something like this. It has been repeated widely by various news sources. No one seems to have been concerned with the disconnect between "truth" and "propaganda." The last I knew propaganda was definitely not synonymous with truth. But he certainly does catapault the propaganda and the MSM lets him get away with it over and over again. I suspect that Bush does not actually understand the difference between truth and propaganda.

This afternoon we attended what was basically a going away party for a couple we know. It was an odd collection of people, probably about twenty in all, three or four of them perhaps liberals, most of them anti-Bush whether liberal or not. This was not a political meeting of any kind. But as there was one person who was known to be a true conservative someone asked him, "do you still support Bush?" His immediate answer was, "Yes, certainly more than that bitch in Crawford." This was a line delivered with such venom, such hatred, such extremism, that everyone was speechless for a moment. One man with an enormous belly said, yes, right, or something to that effect but everyone else sat there in silence. It was clearly an example of a situation in which everyone recognized immediately we were dealing with someone who was obviously mentally ill. The question to him must have somehow hit a nerve so deep and sensitive that no one could understand it. It could be one thing to disagree with Cindy Sheehan, and to say you disagreed, but his reaction was so hateful and stupid we could not deal with it. Everyone politely changed the subject. His wife, who does not share his basically insane hatred, was embarrassed although I think perhaps used to it. Cindy Sheehan, a mother who has lost her son, wants Bush to explain to her what the "noble cause" is that was worth his life. She's not stupid, she knows Bush is not going to meet with her, but above all she knows there is no noble cause and she wants to make it clear to the world there was no such noble cause. This makes her an object of outright hatred? We are all still waiting for an explanation of the noble cause. We are no longer satisfied with "getting rid of WMD's," "getting rid of an evil dictator" (who we previously supported and furnished with poison gas), "spreading democracy in the Middle East" (absolutely absurd), "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here," (even more absurd), "we have to keep killing them to avenge our troops they have killed," (totally fantastic), "we are making progress," they are in "the last throes," "as they stand up we'll stand down," and on and on, just more lies upon lies, upon lies.

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Success in Iraq?

Michael McCurry, ex spokesman for Bill Clinton, has said it is important for Democrats to be supportive of Bush's "war" in Iraq because success in Iraq is very important. I guess it escapes him, along with Kerry, Biden, and Hilary Clinton, that there can be no success in Iraq. What on earth could constitute success in Iraq? Maybe if we could kill every last one of them? Maybe if we could force them through sheer military might to somehow become a democracy? Perhaps if we could win the "war or terror," whatever that might mean? Actually, the only success we could possibly have in Iraq is to complete the neocon's mission: establish a puppet government that will do our bidding, maintain permanent bases to make sure they don't stray from that goal, and manage to reduce the troops by some percentage. Is that what the Democrats mean by success? Unfortunately I think it is. I think so because I cannot for the life of me see what success could possibly mean other than that. Personally, I believe the only possible success would be if we could get the hell out of there without losing any more of our sons and daughters to this totally lost and immoral cause.

There is a caravan moving to Crawford under the theme "Cindy, you don't speak for us." This is quite probably something arranged by Karl Rove. But whether it is or not, I assume that these people are prepared to explain to the rest of us what the President can't - namely, what IS the "noble cause?" Invading a sovereign nation what was no threat to us, taking control of their natural resources, and killing large numbers of them in the process does not, in my view of things, constitute a noble cause. Don't forget there were no WMD's. There were no biological or chemical weapons. There were no planes or rockets that could reach the U.S. Iraq, after twelve years of sanctions, was not a threat to the U.S. or its neighbors (as they all agreed), there were no moving biological labs, there was absolutely no relationship between Osama bin Laden and Sadam Hussein. In short, there was no legal or moral right to attack Iraq. Now, one might argue that the U.S. is indeed desperate to control oil in the Middle East. And one could also argue that for some peculiar reason Iraq would not have sold us oil, and therefore we had to take over their country, or the threat of changing the price of oil into Euros instead of dollars was too threatening to overlook, and that is why we invaded and killed. Let us, for the moment overlook the question of protecting Israel. To admit all of this is basically to admit to war crimes. And if the American public is willing to accept this explanation it means that they, too, are complicit in these war crimes. So we dare not admit the truth. Thus Bush/Cheney and the neocons keep pushing the absurd claims that 9/11 had something to do with Iraq, Sadam was a terrible dictator (once we stopped supporting him), we are spreading democracy to the Middle East, and if we don't fight them there we would have to fight them here (the ultimate absurdity). One might remind them that before we illegally and immorally attacked Iraq there were no "them" there.

Need I remind anyone that attacking a sovereign nation that is not threat to you is a war crime? Torturing prisoners is a war crime. Hiding prisoners from the Red Cross is a war crime. War profiteering is a war crime. Lying to the Congress and the American people might not be technically a war crime but it is most certainly a crime of some sort and needs to be appropriately punished. At the moment there are nothing but lies and crimes spreading out in all directions. And so far nothing is being done about it. No one is being held accountable. The entire world is watching as the U.S. implodes. And Democrats, along with the neocons say nothing but "stay the course." How pathetic.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Women and telephones - essay

While we wait endlessly for something to happen (which somehow seems to get more and more doubtful each day) here is another unwanted, unfinished, uncollected, and uninhibited essay from the collection of morialekafa.

What is this bizarre relationship women have with the telephone? If ever there was a sex-linked behavioral trait it surely has to do with this woman to machine love affair. When a man uses a telephone he invariably has some business to conduct, even if only to arrange a tee time, a fishing trip, a poker party, a baseball game or whatever. He’s on the phone maybe a few seconds, a minute, or in an unusually extreme case, maybe two full minutes. But a woman? You can bet she’ll be on the phone for anywhere from ten minutes to two or more hours no matter what the call is about or how trivial the message.
A woman, for example, will mail a package to someone – her mother or a friend. She then has to telephone that she mailed the package. Then two days later she has to call to see if the package arrived. Of course on both occasions she has to explain every detail of her recent life no matter how tiny or inconsequential. Does it really matter whether or not she went shopping the same day she mailed the package, that she bought a bra, pair of shoes, what kind of bra, what kind of shoes? Given the fact that it is not necessary to report that the package was actually mailed that day is it important to discuss hemlines? Colors? Haircuts? What wedding present to give to someone she barely even knows? I have actually heard women describing on the long distance telephone what color they painted their nails that day, what someone said to them in the supermarket about the price of potatoes, how they tied a colored ribbon in their hair that looked so cute, how their new sandals didn’t fit and had to be returned and on and on. Why do these absolutely trivial everyday ordinary events need a half hour long distance telephone conversation? If they are worthy of being reported at all why not a letter? Nowadays even e-mail? Perhaps a fax? Is it any wonder letter writing is a lost art? Indeed, if they tried to include all this utter trivia in a letter they would not only have writer’s cramp but a monumental postal bill.
Even so, I would venture to predict that no technological innovation will change the behavior of women on the telephone – not e-mail, fax, or cell phones (indeed, this latter will probably make things better for these talkathon types). There was a commercial a while back for some phone company or other with low rates so, the actress boasts, “now we can talk for two hours about nothing at all,” public testimony to the reality I am describing. An even more recent commercial shows a woman talking for six hours to her sister in Spain. She says not to worry as they both have Yak (and I guess they certainly do). Women are every bit as pathological about the telephone as they are about shopping and ice cream, perhaps even moreso. Furthermore, their behavior in this regard is not open to criticism. Even mention the absurdity of what they do with the telephone brings forth a defensive rebuttal with all the force of a nuclear bomb. “I haven’t talked to mother for a whole week!” (two days). “Can’t I talk to my friends?” (yes, but not for hours on long distance). Then, after you suffer through these eternal calls and inquire as to what they said, the answer is often “nothing.”
“You talked to your mother for three hours and she said ‘nothing’?”
Well, she told me she bought some new sheets. Pink. And she had her hair done. And her nails. And on Friday night she went out with the girls. And, oh yes, she had a flat tire and a nice man stopped and changed it for her. She changed the newspaper in the canary cage, and “you’ll never believe this, that Marilyn woman (whom she knows only third or fourth hand) is leaving her husband for a tilesetter. Can you believe it?” This sort of conversation can go on and on and on, not sound and fury, but whimpering and simpering, not even worth a single moment of a single hour of a single day but yet, somehow of monumental significance to women who complain endlessly of not having enough time. Of course they don’t have enough time. They can’t hang up the phone long enough.
Yeah, I know this will be considered sexist. But keep track of it yourself. If women don’t spend far more time on the telephone than men I’ll agree to being a monkey’s uncle. At least I won’t have to explain why there are no bananas that day. Or describe in minute detail who I saw at the supermarket, or report second-hand on the activities of the girl who works in Safeway whom I barely know, or, mercifully report on the condition of my nylons, panties, bra’s, nails, hair, the cute dresses I saw at K Mart but didn’t buy, the summer sandals I just bought that almost but didn’t fit so I had to take them back, the slip I had to return because it wasn’t just right, and blah, blah, blah, blah. All in all I guess it is a good thing women spend so much time on the phone. It keeps them from shopping.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stuff and nonsense

Okay, let's hear it for the American Legion, all three million strong. They have come out against all dissent. There should be no anti-war demonstrations. No one should speak unkindly of our President and his goals (if, indeed, he has any real goals other than murder, arson, rape, and theft). If you dare to speak out against the "war" you are aiding and abetting the enemy, destroying the morale of our troops, and basically committing treason. Apparently the American Legion has not heard of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution of the United States. I gather the concept of free speech is totally beyond their comprehension. As far as I know they didn't specify any particular punishments for exercising your right of free speech. Perhaps we should re-establish the guillotine, or maybe boiling in oil, or how about the iron maiden or the rack. Sheesh!

Well, Bush is still going around the country babbling incessantly about "winning the war on terror." I thought people had agreed some time ago that winning a war on terror was an impossibility, given the nature of the case. I mean, who is going to sign the surrender terms? Especially if we seek out the terrorists one by one and destroy they all as Cheney recently claimed we would do? As terror is simply a means employed by all sorts of individuals and groups it can't really be defeated (unless, of course, you might literally hunt down terrorists one by one until you get them all, a task may somewhat difficult by the potentially millions and millions of individuals who could become terrorists). But reality has never entered into the thought of either Bush or Cheney.

Do you suppose we could somehow get Bush to drop 9/11 from his vocabulary? I'm not suggesting we could ever forget 9/11, but does he have to constantly refer to it every time he opens his mouth. Can't he get it through his tiny brain that we all now know that Iraq had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with 9/11? This is clearly in the range of telling a big lie often enough so that people will come to believe it. I don't believe it. I don't believe Bush even believes it unless he is even more demented that I think he is. Maybe he is, he seems to be pretty much out of touch with reality. And ha ha, even in a tiny town in Idaho he couldn't escape anti-war demonstrators. In Idaho! Think of that! The most Republican state in the union.

John Bolton has finally started his attack on the UN. He has proposed a mere 750 amendments to the changes that have already been suggested and are supposed to be finalized in the next 30 days. And he insists these all must be discussed immediately as there is so little time. Is that unreasonable? Not for Bolton and Bush/Cheney, whose most fervent desire to is rid themselves of this pesky international organization who won't always do their bidding. Yes siree, if you want to screw things up, John Bolton's the man for the job. And oh, yes, he threw a big bash and only invited reporters known to be sympathetic to the administration.

"Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful." Friedrich Nietzsche.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Stay the course?

Stay the course? What course? The only course there could possibly be is the one the neocons set in the first place: invade Iraq, set up a puppet government that will do their bidding, construct permanent military bases to make sure they will comply with our wishes, and thereby control their oil resources and what goes on in the Middle East. If anyone can come up with another course please advise. But please, no crap about getting rid of a dictator, spreading democracy, fighting terrorists abroad, and blah, blah, blah. Bush/Cheney need to cut a new record. This one is more overplayed than "tie a yellow ribbon." Either they should now tell the truth (an apparent impossibility for them) or else resign. Please notice that Bush's approval ratings are lower than Nixon's when he resigned.

It seems to me that Bush's approval ratings are so low that he has obviously lost the trust of the American public and there is more and more mention of the "I" word - impeachment. Under these circumstances should he be allowed to appoint someone to the Supreme Court? I don't think so but I guess there isn't much that can be done about it short of actually starting impeachment proceedings (even then what would happen?). Can there be any doubt that Bush/Cheney and the neocons have created the most chaotic and disgusting mess ever? Not only in Iraq but here at home as well. And can you believe there are still people who support these guys? To continue to support Bush/Cheney at this point requires a level of psychosis beyond my comprehension. And by the way, Robertson did not say "assassination." Are you going to believe him or your own eyes and ears?

"At first I was almost about to despair, I thought I could never bear it -- but I did bear it. The question remains: how?

Heinrich Heine

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Keep your eye on the ball

I believe what Cindy Sheehan has done and is doing is absolutely marvelous. She has energized the anti-war movement, embarrassed the president, and insisted on getting some explanation for why we are in Iraq (actually I think we know why we are in Iraq but for some peculiar reason no one wants to admit it. It has to do with OIL). It is obvious that Bush can never explain to Cindy why Iraq is a "noble cause," because, of course, it is not. It is really quite simple. We invaded Iraq because they sit on an enormous amount of oil which we desperately need to control. We are going to set up a puppet government that will do what we want them to do and we are going to establish permanent military bases to insure they comply. What is complicated about that? All this talk about withdrawing troops, having Iraqis run their own country, democracy, etc., etc., is just talk. Actually little more than babble.

But there is a down side to the Cindy phenomenon. It occupies the news. So when did you last hear anything about the Rove scandal? How about Gannon/Guckert? Sybel Edmonds? Tom DeLay? The 9/11 investigation? Even John Roberts? When did you hear or see anything about the obscene national debt? Health care? Global warming? Environmental health? Even Social Security has disappeared. It's all about Cindy. On the one hand this is great, on the other is is distracting us from all the other problems and scandals of this dismal administration (dismal doesn't even approximate the truth of the problem).

Bush/Cheney should either resign or be impeached for the good of the country (ha ha, imagine either of them doing anything for the good of the country). After they resign or are impeached they should be tried for war crimes (there is no doubt they are guilty of them). Blair is apparently going to become part of the Carlyle group after his tenure as Prime Minister. Think of this. Think really hard about it. Is there any doubt about who rules the world? Barnum didn't think on a grand enough scale. There's not a sucker born every minute, there are millions of them. So good luck suckers.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Whether he lied?

Somewhere or other I saw something to the effect there will be a committee to look into the question of whether Bush/Cheney lied. I assume this means the committee will conclude that they didn't lie. Because otherwise what would be the point of such a committee? Of course they lied. It is perfectly obvious they lied. We already know they lied. At least one of them even admitted that the used WMD's as a rationale simply because that was something they could agree on. They knew there were no WMD's. They knew there were no mobile biological labs. They knew they didn't try to buy stuff from Niger. They knew there was no danger of a mushroom cloud. They knew absolutely that Iraq was not, and could not have been, a danger to the United States. They also knew that Iraq was in compliance with the UN inspections even though to this day they want you to believe they were resisting the inspections. They knew there was no relationship between Sadam and Osama bin Laden and they still try to slip this bullshit in whenever they can. THEY LIED! ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, BEYOND ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER! We do not need a phony committe to "investigate" and then tell us they didn't lie. We also don't need to be told that the intelligence was faulty. They cooked the intelligence to be what they wanted. This whole business is so outrageous that for the most part no one wants to believe it. Just like some pro-Bush woman interviewed at Camp Casey - the president wouldn't have lied. Why would he not have lied? He's lied about everything. EVERYTHING! I don't believe he has ever told the truth about anything, even when he could have told the truth. And the biggest liar of all, who has been wrong about absolutely everything, is Dick the Slimy Cheney, president of the United States currently hiding under another rock somewhere. Rumsfeld is almost as bad as is our dear babbling Condi. If there is anyone in the U.S. at the moment who doesn't believe this administration lied, god help us all.

Then there is Pat Robertson. How he stays out of a mental institution is not clear to me. He exorts his followers to pray that Supreme Court Justices will die so Bush can appoint new ones. Now he has announced publicly that we should assassinate Hugo Chavez. First of all, what business is it of his what Hugo Chavez does or doesn't do? Who in the hell does Robertson speak for except for his band of ultra loonies. Are they in charge of the U.S. so they can dictate policy? Who does this egomaniacal jerk think he is? Personally, I believe we should all pray Robertson gets committed to a funny farm somewhere as soon as possible. Not being a violent sort I guess I wouldn't want to see him assassinated (although I think it would be a good thing). Does anyone really take him seriously? There must be some who do, he did try to run for president (think of that and try to keep your dinner down).

I've noticed nearly all the dead
Were hardly more than boys.

Grantland Rice

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Old Man - short story

Those of you who want to slip in your ads in the comments to this blog are apparently unaware of the limited readership. I don't know how many people actually read Morialekafa but it can't be very many. You should focus your attention elsewhere.

Chest of chicken anyone? I don't know if you saw it but some radio station in Kentucky canceled three programs, two of which used the word "breast" and one that used the phrase "get high." One of these programs was Garrison Keilor's, a felonious fellow if ever there was one. Apparently so many fans complained that they cancelled the cancellations. What is it with people and breasts? You often see complaints about breast feeding in public. I guess Americans are ignorant of the natural functions of breasts and think they are just for erotic play? Would it be better to say "boobs feeding," or "hooters grub," or something?

Anyway, as not much else seems to happen, especially on week-ends, here is another short story.

He was one of the first persons I noticed in our newly found little town. Every morning at the same time you could see him making his way slowly across the bridge. The bridge is about a quarter of a mile long and crosses the beautiful river that separates the North Side of town from the South Side. It slopes gently from north to south and in winter can be a rather difficult journey in either direction. The Old Man lived on the north side, the oldest part of town, built on the North Hill for protection from the annual floods that occurred before the dam was built. The houses were old, most of them even older than the Old Man. As there were no stores on the north side, the Old Man journeyed each morning from his home, across the bridge, to the small Safeway store that did its best to provision us. He bought very little, only what was needed for that day, and carried it slowly home back up the bridge.
It was difficult to tell in years just how old the Old Man was. But everything about him said old. His bent over posture, the slowness with which he moved, the lined, carelessly shaved face, the rheumy eyes, the intense concentration on where he was walking, the large, gnarled arthritic fingers, his worn clothing, and the wisps of unruly white hair that peeked out from under the old hat he wore faithfully each day.
The Old Man rarely spoke. He had a pleasant voice but was invariably brusque, as if he didn’t wish to be bothered. Everyone knew him, but at the same time no one knew him. He was just a nameless Old Man. One of the clerks claimed his name was John but no one knew for certain and no one ever addressed him by that name. Ordinarily people did not address him at all. He just appeared, made his modest purchases, always in cash, and left. Everyone agreed he had lived there for a long time but no one seemed to know for how long. Being a newcomer, and given that it was a fairly small town, I thought this was strange indeed. But no one else seemed to be concerned about it. He was always alone and apparently had no friends. I concluded that whatever friends he may have had most probably were dead. I refrained from wishing him Merry Christmas, fearful he might think I was mocking him.
During our second winter the Old Man began walking with a cane. It wasn’t really a cane, more like a walking stick with a sharp point. He walked more slowly using his stick to help navigate the occasional snow and ice. I watched him struggle daily and came to admire his tenacity and obvious unwillingness to give up. He fought grimly each day to continue his life.

Ours is a beautiful town, built in a gorgeous river valley with fine soil and a genuine four-season climate. In summer, from the top of the north side of the bridge, looking eastward, the river runs through neatly cultivated fields of golden wheat, bright yellow canola, sometimes oats and barely, and less frequently stands of rape, alfalfa, or peas, crops to be plowed under to enrich again the soil that has sustained the townspeople for almost two hundred years. To the west the river winds its way towards a magnificent and untamed mountain range, but then turns northward towards mountains even more spectacular. The views in all directions are breathtaking, what with the blue of the sky, the myriad shades of green from the surrounding mountains, and the often-present drifting white clouds. In winter, with snow on the ground and covering the almost infinite expanse of evergreens, it is equally as beautiful. Watching the Old Man I wondered if he still appreciated this overwhelming natural panorama. He must have perceived the obvious grandeur at one time but now, moving so awkwardly and with such concentration, I thought perhaps it no longer existed for him. How terrible it must be to no longer appreciate beauty. It would be like having music suddenly turn into noise.

During the following summer the walking stick changed into a genuine cane, a grotesque piece of highly polished hardwood every bit as gnarled as the Old Man himself. The winter had been long and cold. Now the summer was hot, over ninety degrees for days on end. None of this kept the Old Man from his morning routine. I couldn’t help but notice he often purchased just a single can of soup, along with an apple, pear, or orange and, when needed, a loaf of bread and some butter. I don’t believe it was entirely frugality, I think he simply didn’t need anything else. Food, like beauty, no longer mattered. His goal had become mere survival.
Once the Old Man did not show up for two days and when he reappeared he was using crutches that slowed him down more than ever. But he kept going, carrying his one plastic bag of groceries clamped to one of his crutches as best he could. He never gave up. Day after day he stubbornly made his increasingly awkward journey. He never complained, never asked for help and even more rarely spoke. He was engaged in a struggle that only he completely understood and appreciated. Other people might as well have not have existed. The Old Man was a lonely figure, wandering on an increasingly strange and difficult quest, the ultimate outcome of which was never in doubt.

Fall was late in coming. We enjoyed a long and marvelous Indian summer. The haying was done and the bales spread out neatly across the fields produced an intense feeling of peaceful satisfaction. The harvest was over. Nature had been unusually bountiful. The fruit trees, heavy with fruit, had been stripped of their treasures. The potatoes and onions and carrots, parsnips and turnips were dug and stored. Firewood was cut and split and protected from the weather to come.
Inevitably the weather changed, cold winds arrived and put the trees in motion, the larch began to turn burnt orange, slowly dropping needles that piled up into delightful little mounds of color, and the leaves on the birch and aspen rustled noisily and began to fall, creating a scene of such mixed colors it might have been an impressionist painting. Huge flocks of geese flew south honking in their familiar formations, pausing in the afternoons to feed in the stubble and rest for their long winter journey.
When the Old Man did not appear for three days one of the grocery clerks casually mentioned it to the policeman who came to buy food for the inmates in the county jail. The following day when the Old Man still did not appear a policeman was sent to investigate. Of course the Old Man was dead, having apparently died peacefully in his sleep. The small house had been neglected for years. The picket fence was falling apart, the paint was peeling, and what had been at one time a lawn was now a mass of weeds. The only remnant of a garden was a badly overgrown clump of yellow Iris. The windows were dirty and covered with cobwebs. On the kitchen table was a half-full bottle of Echo Springs whiskey. In the small second bedroom there was a collection of similar but empty bottles collected over what must have been a very long time. In the kitchen sink was an unwashed pan with a trace of vegetable soup. Under the Old Man’s pillow was a fully loaded silver plated 6.35 Mauser automatic with teak handles. In the single drawer of the night-stand was a loaded .38 revolver of a type some used to call a “muley,” although I have no idea why. Under the mattress was an envelope with eleven one hundred dollar bills. On the walls were calendars many years out of date, mostly featuring buxom young ladies either scantily dressed or posed in awkward situations. There was no sign of correspondence except for a large number of social security envelopes in a waste-basket. In the small dining area was a very old and quite handsome mahogany china cabinet. Inside were wine glasses and a complete dinner service for eight. A fading sepia toned photograph showed what must have been the newly married couple, the Old Man quite handsome and well dressed, his bride a beautiful woman with long luxurious auburn hair. In one of the drawers was a woman’s gold locket mounted on a necklace of intricately woven auburn hair. In a matching drawer was a full set of tarnished silver. In the master bedroom, dirty clothes.

How appropriate, I thought, when the Great Mystery calls, to leave in autumn.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Lull before the storm?

I don't know for sure but I cannot help but believe this may be "the lull before the storm." Fitzgerald may finally decide to indict someone, the Iraqis may fail to come up with a constitution, Bush and Rumsfeld are both scheduled to appear before Congress, Sybil Edmonds is still pursuing her charges, Rumsfeld is being sued, Bush cannot escape from the scrutiny of Cindy Sheehan and her growing band of followers. There is going to be a massive march on Washington on September 24th. Something may actually happen in the Tom DeLay scandal. The Ohio Republican party is in truly deep do-do. Immigration is becoming a national scandal. The nation is finally waking up to the realization that Bush/Cheney and the neocons lied to start an illegal and unnecessary "war" in which American troops continue to die on a daily basis. We now have an absolutely unprecedented national debt, the neocons want to attack Iran (but happily don't have the troops to do it), Arlen Spector has rebuked Rumsfeld for his stupid attack on Chavez and Venezuala, Bolton is just beginning his attack on the UN, and on and on. Something, it seems to me, is going to have to give in the not too distant future.

All of this is to say nothing about the sinking poll numbers which are themselves virtually unprecedented. I think Nixon had higher poll numbers when he resigned the Presidency. But don't expect Bush/Cheney to do the decent thing and resign for the good of the country. Of course if our corporate masters decide that Bush/Cheney may have outlived their usefulness, and may now risk the future of the Republican party, they may start to insist on a change. Republicans have been and are embarked on what has to turn out to be a suicidal program. It is finally beginning to catch up with them. The lies have reached the point where even the dimmest among us cannot deny them any longer (I do not consider the Republican base the dimmest among us as they do not attain even that status).

So Bush and Frist can go on blissfully demanding that Intelligent Design deserves a place in the classroom right up there with the theory of evolution, and continue their attack on the public schools, science, reason, and intelligence, but they cannot ultimately win because utter absurdity will inevitably lose out to basic common sense and reality. I repeat what I have said previously: if there is such a thing as intelligent design there would certainly be no human beings. Why would any superior intelligence design the most troublesome, warlike, murderous, destructive, short-sighted, greedy, genocidal, mean and unpleasant species on earth apparently dedicated to fouling their own nest and destroying everyone else's nest? What did the Passenger Pidgeon, the buffalo, and the Tasmanians ever do to them?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Pro-life and the great chain of being

Those who espouse the notion that taking life through abortions is not only sinful but absolutely immoral and contrary to scripture, because life is precious and god's gift to us, and so on, are not truly interested in "life." They are really concerned specifically with human life. If this were not so they would avoid taking life in other ways, such as not killing animals, even plants, insects, and so on. They would certainly not endorse taking the lives of other people, such as Iraqis, Arabs, and other non-white western Europeans. Of course a prohibition on taking lives would mean we would all have to starve, unless, of course, we compromised by begging for our food which would mean that we simply passed the buck to those who donate the food. Rice and wheat and barley have life just as does everything else except for inanimate objects. This whole argument about human life rests upon the assumption that there is a great chain of being. At the bottom of this chain are the lowest creatures of all, like plankton and such, and then moving up the chain to shrimp and such, and then to fish, and bigger fish, and lower animals and higher animals, and then through human forms such as Black people, Indians, Asians, and of course right on up to western European caucasians who are the highest of all. Thus implicitly if not explicitly it is perfectly okay to destroy life all the way up to the presumed highest form of life, western European caucasians. Historically this has certainly been the case as any serious student of world history knows. And this can be the only rationale for the anti-abortion movement (these people still eat, wear leather shoes and belts and so on). So ultimately the only basis for the sanctity of human life is because we humans say so. If we could talk to cattle or lambs or deer or other animals, and even plants, do you think they would place human life above their own? I don't think so. But, then, they are only dumb beasts by our definition, not theirs. It wasn't all that long ago that Tasmanians and Australian Aborigines were still being hunted with dogs, and sometimes used as dog food. And we know very well what happened to American Indians, victims of the most vicious genocide ever.

This does not mean I am in favor of abortion. I believe abortions should be avoided wherever possible. But if they sometimes have to occur they should certainly be legal and performed by doctors who know more than simply the use of coathangers in the alley. The belief that contraception is a form of abortion strikes me as the ultimate in absurdities and of course if outlawed could only result in more abortions rather than fewer. Similarly, the idea that human life begins precisely at the moment of conception strikes me as extreme, and extremely unlikely. I cannot believe that a few cells are the equivalent of a human being.

Anyway, it is my conviction that if people truly do not want a child bad enough to consider aborting it, they should not have it. Why bring unwanted children into the world to be abused and neglected? It is not as if child abuse and neglect is not rampant in American culture. Indeed, I would wager that most people in the world cannot even conceive of child abuse as it sometimes occurs in the United States: burning children, starving them, beating them to death, breaking their arms and legs and ribs and so on. Hawaiians, for example, think making children sleep alone is a form of child abuse. Childen in most parts of New Guinea are never even punished even for the most egregious acts of vandalism or whatever. It would never even occur to a New Guinea Highlander that a child should be punished as small children are not regarded as capable of acting other than as they do. As they grow older they are held more and more responsible.

Someone once said that he believed in abortion because the alternatives were worse. I agree. So let us not even consider overturning Roe vs Wade. And we certainly don't need a Roberts on the Supreme Court.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Concerned Republicans

Recently there have been suggestions that Republicans are "concerned." So what are they concerned about? Are they concerned about the illegal and immoral "war" in Iraq? Are they concerned about the torture? Are they concerned about all the pending Republican scandals? Are they concerned about the absoluely horrible loss of life as a result of the Bush/Cheney "war?" Are they concerned about Cindy Sheehan's marvelous movement against the "war?" Are they concerned about the state of the American economy? Health care? Social Security? Education? The price of gasoline and heating oil? The answers are no, no, no, no, no. Their concern is only about whether or not they might be re-elected. That's it. All of the sudden they have become concerned, not about anything of importance, not about how our country is on the way to absolute ruin, not about the war criminals in the White House, only about their chances for re-election. Now you see contemporary American politics in its most basic form. Disgusting, isn't it? I would like to be able to say this is a purely Republican attitude but, alas, it is not.

Dick the Slimy, in a recent speech to another completely sympathetic audience, said we will track the insurgents down "one by one if we have to. We will never relent." I guess the utter absurdity of that claim escapes him and his audience.

The Roberts nomination stinks as they say, "to high heaven." Not only is he being exposed as a rabid extreme right-winger, but also as a totally unethical lawyer. It turns out that at the very moment he was being interviewed for the possible Supreme Court appointment he was serving on a three judge panel on an extremely important case against Bush. Naturally the decision was in favor of Bush. This is a conflict of interest so blatant, so clearly in violation of any rules of legal behavior, as to be absolutely mind-boggling. But don't bet the Democrats won't just lie down again and let him be appointed. At least Leahy and Kennedy, and perhaps a couple of others will oppose him but I think the deal has already been made. If he is appointed it will be a sad day for America, unless you are a raving lunatic like Robertson and Falwell.

Republicans are always crowing about how they are "pro-life." I guess that means people like me are somehow "pro-death." Do you know anyone who is pro-death? And what in the hell is pro-life about their absolutely criminal "war" in Iraq? Furthermore, they don't have a clue what being pro-life would actually mean. If you were technically pro-life you couldn't even exist. All life depends ultimately on death. Something has to die so that others live. It has always been so. You might be able to somewhat reduce the incidence of death, or at least the death of some things like animals, but you can never change the system in which life inevitably feeds on death. I guess you could stop eating and living. But I digress. The country is dying and Republicans are concerned about being re-elected.

"The world cannot continue to wage war like physical giants and to seek peace like intellectual pygmies."

Basil O'Connor

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On Reality

Why do I think the coming roast of Pamela Anderson may signal the end of civilization? Oh, never mind.

All day I have been pondering the question of reality. I think I may have lost it. Bush/Cheney and the neocons have lied so consistently and outrageously that it has become virtually impossible to locate reality. It is like one of their people once said, "we now create our own reality." But if you can create your own reality on a day to day basis is there, then, any real reality? I know I sound like Rumsfeld who has been so dissociated from reality he wouldn't know it if he saw it. But really, reality-wise, I have reached the point where I simply do not believe anything Republicans say. The concept of reality has been abandoned. We are now living in a complete fantasyland where what people say has no connection with anything previously considered to be reality. Things are going well in Iraq. Progress is being made. The insurgents are in the "last throes." We are going to reduce troop levels. We are not going to reduce troop levels. We want Osama bin Laden dead or alive. Osama bin Laden is not important to us. Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. No, they don't have WMD's. They were trying to buy uraniam in South Africa. No, they were not trying to buy it. Rove had nothing to do with outing Plame, the idea is absurd. Bush will fire anyone who leaked. No, only if a crime was committed. Social Security is going to collapse unless we do something immediately. Well, maybe not immediately. I could go on and on. But what's the point? None of these claims or statements has anything whatsoever to do with reality. Hardly anyone seems to care. That's exactly how far we have come from reality.

Although I can't go into the subject here at the moment it is past time that we rethink carefully the question of an all volunteer army (no, I am absolutely not in favor of a draft). It seems clear to me that most of those individuals who now are in our military are there because of some financial motive (bonuses, college tuition, professional training, etc.). Some of them may also have patriotic motives but I suspect they are now a minority. Apparently we also have now large numbers of mercenaries, hired hands from wherever. In this situation it seems to me their loyalties are not to the United States per se, but rather to whoever it is that pays them. When you couple this with recent legislation that for the first time will allow the army to operate within the continental U.S. I believe we are treading on extremely dangerous ground. With large numbers of military personnel refusing to return to duty in Iraq, and the military unable to fulfill their enlistment goals, it would seem that patriotism is not much involved. They either don't want to get killed or they think the "war" is not worth it and they want nothing to do with it. Somehow, if we are to maintain an all volunteer military, we are going to have to make it clear that their loyalty is to the United States of America, not to the corporate masters that now control them. I do not believe this is a trivial issue, or paranoid, or un-American. Think about it.

"For he who sins a second time, wakes a dead soul to pain..."

Oscar Wilde
The Ballad of...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


How is it that nothing ever happens? There is the Gannon/Guckert scandal -nothing. There is the Rove/Libby scandal - nothing. There is the Sybel Edmonds scandal - nothing. The DeLay scandal - nothing. There is he Enron scandal - nothing. There is the Halliburton war profiteering scandal - nothing. There is the torture scandal - nothing. What on earth is wrong with our country? There is also the greatest scandal of all - Iraq - and again, nothing. Not only are the neocons and Bush/Cheney insisting we "stay the course," even though it can promise nothing but more disaster, the Democratic leadership is even more warmongering than the Republicans. We need more troops in Iraq, they claim, not fewer. Under the circumstances this is so bizarre as to call for some kind of mental test for these lunatics. Make no mistake, we are in big trouble in this country. When both major political parties are insisting on going in the precise opposite direction from public opinion this means BIG TROUBLE! Where is a strong and charismatic anti-war candidate?

Even under enormous pressure from the U.S. the Iraqis are unable to agree on a constitution. Why should that surprise anyone? And what kind of constitution will they have being pressured by the U.S. not only to meet an unrealistic and arbitrary deadline but also to do what we tell them to do? This is a group picked by the U.S. to draft a constitution, given the outlines of what it should look like, and told to "make it snappy." Democracy at work. What a bunch of utter crap. I'm sorry, but you have to admire the Iraqis for not just slavishly following the U.S. dictates.

And now we have the clever Sharon using the pull-out from Gaza to steal even more Palestinian land on the West Bank. He is going to "sacrifice" (they are all getting huge compensations for leaving) 8000 Israeli settlers in Gaza to incorporate some 40,000 new Iraqi settlers illegally on the West Bank. And he is asking the U.S. to provide some two billion dollars to pay for this farce - two billion you can bet he will get. No wonder the Arabs hate us for our "freedoms." Freedom to steal, kill, rape and pillage at will.

On top of all the other problems we have as a result of Bush/Cheney and the neocons there is the question of Iran. You can hear the drumbeats of war already. The same lies they told us about Iraq. "The sky is falling, the sky is falling," they're going to make a bomb, we have to nuke them first, blah, blah, blah. First of all they have every right to do what they are doing at the moment. They are violating no rules. And they are said by those who presumably know such things, they are ten years from having a bomb. But what if they even did have a bomb? Do you think they would immediately drop such a bomb on Israel, knowing they would be immediately obliterated from the face of the earth? Furthermore, why shouldn't they have a bomb? Pakistan has some. India has some. Israel has many. China and Russia have many. Britain and France have many. And the U.S. has more than all the others combined. So we are going to tell Iran they can't have one? "Do as I say, not as I do?" Apparently they think the Iranians are as childlike as they are.

Until the coming grass roots upheaval takes place we can only pin our hopes on Cindy Sheehan and Patrick Fitzgerald. If I were a praying person I'd say pray. But all I can offer is hope, hope that seems to grow dimmer with each passing day. The neocons are insane and their insanity increasingly seeps into our body politic.

"But the brilliance, the versatility of madness is akin to the resourcefulness of water seeping through, over and around a dike."

F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tender is...

Monday, August 15, 2005


The Pentagon is absolutely opposed to releasing any more photos of torture. They believe that to do so would greatly increase anti-American sentiment and lead to more and more attacks against our troops. I believe this is probably true. But what does it say about our shame? By not releasing these photos we are having to admit that what we did was so vile, so criminal, so disgusting, that we dare not make it public. And by failing to hold any high-level officers and civilians responsible we are just making things worse. There would seem to be little doubt that torture was encouraged and certainly condoned by the Bush/Cheney administration. The argument that it was just a few bad enlisted apples is obvious nonsense. The particular methods employed were clearly thought up by people who had some knowledge of Iraqi culture, not by some low-level personnel from Virginia. Whether the photographs ever get released or not we will still have to bear the shame of this unbelievably horrible episode in American history.

Sentiment against the "war" and Bush/Cheney is rapidly growing thanks in part to Cindy Sheehan who has single-handedly kept the issue front and center. She now has the support of many others willing to join her, donate money and supplies, and etc. Bush, who had time for a two hour bike ride, fishing, a little league baseball game, lunch with Condi, and a nap, still cannot find time to speak with Cindy. Obviously he has plenty of time, he just doesn't have the guts, nor does he have anything to say to her that would make any sense whatsoever. What would he say? We attacked a helpless country with a lot of oil because we want to control their oil? He knows, and everyone else knows, we didn't attack because of WMD's or terrorist ties, or even to rid the country of an evil dictator, we did it for the oil and to make Bush and Cheney's corporate pals filthy rich. At least that much has been a success. A glorious success.

Impeachment seems to be getting more and more mention of late, not that it will ever happen with a Republican controlled House of Representatives, none of whom have even a smidgen of decency. If they did Bush would be forced to resign just as Nixon was. The continuing Republican support for our idiot figurehead is impossible for me to comprehend. There seems to be no level of incompetence they are willing to put up with. Rumsfeld, who seems to be in an advanced stage of dementia, and who has failed even military 101, keeps babbling on. Condi Rice, apparently about as useless as can be, continues around the world babbling nonsense, Bolton, keeping a low profile so far, will probably erupt soon with some kind of tantrum, Cheney sticks to his plan for nuking Iran and everybody else in the world if it suits him, Rove goes unpunished even though he is obviously guilty as hell, scandal after scandal just gets ignored by the MSM, and what else is new?

"He (uncle Pio) regarded love as a sort of cruel malady through which the elect are required to pass in their late youth and from which they emerge, pale and wrung, but ready for the business of living. There was (he believed) a great repertory of errors mercifully impossible to human beings who had recovered from this illness."

Thornton Wilder
The Bridge...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Pickled Pig's Feet - essay

While we are all waiting to hear what the "noble cause" is/was, and trying desperately to maintain our sanity in the world of Bush/"Cheney and the neocons, let's take a break and consider a more down to earth problem.

Many, many years ago when I was a child my mother sometimes made picked pigs feet. I don’t remember much about how she actually did it but I do recall a series of crocks and having to change the feet from one crock to another for several days. I had no qualms whatsoever about eating pig’s feet. My father ate them with gusto, although I don’t remember my mother eating them. She must have made them just for him, just as she fried side pork for him, although she hated it. In any case, like my father, I loved both of those wonderful treats. It was not until I reached adolescence that I learned from my peers that not only did they not eat pig’s feet, they found the very idea utterly revolting. This caused me to think more carefully about this standard Scandinavian foodstuff, but it did not deter me. I continued consuming them whenever I could until I eventually left home (although not mentioning publicly my now secret behavior).
Naturally they did not serve pigs feet in dormitories or fraternities, nor could one expect to find them in restaurants. Thus I went without pickled pigs feet for many years. After I married it was quite clear that asking for pig’s feet, pickled or otherwise, would be quite out of the question. Not only did any of my wives not know how to make pickled pigs feet, they would have quite likely threatened divorce had I even suggested such a disgusting thing. Knowing what side my bread was buttered on, so to speak, I never mentioned the subject. So… I went without my beloved trotters for many more years. I would say all of sixty years in all.
I can’t say that going without pickled pigs’ feet really bothered me much. I certainly didn’t suffer withdrawal symptoms or anything like that. But in my dotage, for some mysterious reason, I began to think more and more about this, and ruminating on the unfairness of it all. From time to time I began to notice you could buy canned pickled pigs’ feet in the market. But as I knew commercially canned pigs’ feet could not possibly be anything like Mother’s, I resisted the temptation. Recently, however, I began to observe that our local meat market occasionally sold uncooked pigs’ feet. Those little cute white trotters beckoned me for weeks and weeks, every time I visited the market. But still I resisted, thinking it would be too much trouble and I probably couldn’t do anything that complicated. Even so, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I wouldn’t say I was obsessed, but I found myself surreptitiously eyeing this esoteric delicacy more carefully each time I visited the market.
I’m sure you know how such things go. The more I thought about it the more curious I became. One thing led to another. I looked up Pig's Feet Recipes on Google. I found there is a veritable plethora of recipes, indeed, a surfeit of instruction about making pickled pigs feet. And much to my surprise, they are all easy. They don’t involve multiple crocks and such. Even I, I quickly recognized, could do it. They were that simple.
But not so fast! There were certain logistical problems. For example, I needed to know if we had all the necessary ingredients. I began looking in cupboards. My wife asked, “What are you doing?” I replied that I was just looking for some stuff. “Stuff? What stuff? Knowing I would eventually have to admit the truth I said, “Oh, just bay leaves, red pepper, cloves, cider vinegar, stuff like that.” This wife, who is a marvelous cook, and very bright, especially when it comes to me, said, “You’re going to make pickled pigs feet, aren’t you?” I sheepishly allowed as to how I might try it. Much to her credit, after rolling her eyes, she left the room and never said another word about it.
This brought up another problem. After listening to people for sixty years or more denigrating pig’s feet, I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to buy them. What would people think? Would they make fun of me? Somehow the idea of buying pig’s feet had taken on an aura of depravity, even sinfulness. Certainly it would be embarrassing, like having to buy tampax or suppositories. But having committed myself to the project I couldn’t very well make pickled pigs feet without the pigs feet, could I? So, on a day where I spied a particularly nice looking pair of trotters I quickly put them into my shopping basket, careful to add some other items to help camouflage them. After all, I had been shopping in this market for many years and had never bought pig's feet before. Holding my breath and refusing eye contact I went through the checkout stand. Sure enough, the checker recognized me, looked at me as though I must have suddenly gone mad, shook her head, I guess in disbelief, but gracefully held her tongue. I slunk out of the place in disgrace.
I still had to cook the things. This required about three hours. I waited for a time when I knew my wife and son would be gone and then proceeded to prepare my much longed for delicacy. Unfortunately they both came home early and complained bitterly that the house reeked of vinegar which, of course, it did. But I succeeded! After cooling the concoction for a while I placed it in a tight container in the refrigerator to let it mature properly.
The final problem had to do with when to eat what I had proudly prepared. I wasn’t going to take a chance on eating it in front of my wife and child. I was afraid of what they might think, seeing me greedily eating this gelatinous substance. Besides, my son is a vegetarian. I didn’t want to risk damaging our relationship for life. I waited until they had both gone to bed and were safely asleep before I tasted my pickled pigs’ feet. I want you to know they are absolutely delicious. Just as my Mother used to make. But I won’t do it again. It is far too stressful. Have to think of my health. Although Pickled Pigs Feet are very good, they are not good for me.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Say it ain't so

Watch 'n Wait: I don't know exactly what kind of sources you require. But here are some suggetions:
Nafeez Moaddeq Ahmed - The War on Freedom
Esther Kaplan - With God on Their Side
Anonymous - Imperial Hubris
Evan Eland - The Empire Has no Clothes
John Perkins - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Norman Solomon - War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning us to Death.
Robert Parry - Secrecy and Privilege
Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie - Forbidden Truth

I am certain there are several more recent books that bring the deceit more up to date but here in Bonner Ferry it takes time to keep up with it all, if indeed, it is even possible anymore to keep up with it all.

Bush has now said with respect to Iran, "all options are on the table." This, I assume, means war. He has also said we may have to go to the UN for sanctions (ever hear this before?). It is also the case that Iran offered a perfectly reasonable approach to their nuclear program some time ago and the Bush/Cheney administration rejected it (see "What the Neo-Crazies Knew" on This can only mean they intended to, and still intend to start a "war" with Iran just as they did in Iraq. This strikes me as crazy indeed, given the miserable condition of the U.S. military at the moment, the fact that public opinion is growing solidly against the Iraq "war," and also the fact that Iran is not Iraq and is certainly not going to welcome an attack on their country (neocon fantasies to the contrary). An attack on Iran of any kind at the moment would truly be an act of lunacy, but don't put it past the desperate neocons whose moment in the sun is about to come to an end. With Bush's polls so low, and the numerous scandals about to catch up with him, probably their only chance is to start a war. You think they wouldn't do this? You better think again. Rove encouraged the Iraq "war" in order to bolster Bush's political career. You think he won't do it again? Of course if he was in jail where he ought to be things might be different. Then, of course, there is Dr. StrangeCheney, planning to nuke everone in sight if they don't do what he personally desires.

I ask again, for the nth time - how much longer will the American people put up with this absolutely outrageous, disgusting, illegal, shameful, unconstitutional, immoral, out-of-control bunch of criminal thugs? Oh, I keep forgetting, gay marriage and abortions are far more important that the coming new World War. I guess as long as Jaysus is on our side everything will come up roses. I have to repeat again - if there ever was such a thing as intelligent design there would certainly not be any human beings.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Going nowhere

Okay, I give up on Gannon/Guckert. Having written about this many times not only on this blog but also to our local newspaper, it appears that no one is interested in why a known homosexual prostitute with no press credential or experience was repeatedly given passes to White House news conferences and even given passes to the White House when no press conferences were even scheduled.

The same thing seems to be happening with the Rove treason scandal. It is known for a fact that he discussed Plame with Novak, and thus leaked something that should have been highly classified, but Bush has done nothing to discipline him and, indeed, keeps praising him. No one seems to be pressing him on this. It's like the Gannon/Guckert scandal, just keep ignoring it and it will eventually go away.

Similarly, the White House is refusing to release 50,000 pages of information about Roberts, even though the Senate is entitled to see such information. They also refused to reveal information about Bolton even though that should have been made available. The Democrats response to this outrageous behavior on the part of the White House is to say they will try to find out in other ways. That's it, don't stand up for your legal and constitutional rights, just try fo find another way to get the information. Democrats are hopeless, spineless, and at the moment basically useless.

Given what is going on (or not going on) at the moment I suggest we simply cancel tomorrow for lack of interest.

But wait! There is one ray of hope on the horizon. A 48 year-old woman named Cindy Sheehan who mourns her son and is single-handedly taking on the Bush/Cheney liars. Camped out not far from Bush's fake ranch, and attracting more and more supporters, she is calling out for the truth. But of course the truth is not in Bush/Cheney. They dare not tell the truth because to do so would be to admit to horrendous war crimes. So we get pious pronouncements from Bush as to how he sympathizes with her, how much he feels her pain, etc., but will not (indeed, dare not) meet her face-to-face.

Both Gary Hart and Arianna Huffington wrote pieces today praising Sheehan and pointing out that basically what she is doing is filling the void in leadership that exists in both the Democratic and Republican parties. And it is true. The major Democratic players, such as Hilary Clinton, Kerry, and others like Biden foolishly committed themselves to this illegal, unconstitutional "war" and now cannot pretend otherwise. Dean and Kucinich who were right about this stupid "war," were destroyed by the major media in the Republican camp, so there are no viable Democratic anti-war candidates (at least at the moment). And as there are no honorable Republicans, who at the moment are the only ones that could do something about this terrible disaster that has befallen our country, there does not seem to be much hope.

One can only wonder how much longer the American public can continue in their abysmal ignorance about the Bush/Cheney destruction derby.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Of course she has an agenda

The Republican slime machine is going all out to discredit Cindy Sheehan, claiming she has an agenda. Of course she has a agenda. Her agenda could not be more clear. Force Bush to come out of hiding and explain to her and the American people why we are in Iraq, why we continue to be there, why we should not bring our troops home, what "noble cause" did her son die for, and etc. The problem for Bush is that he doesn't dare to explain why we are there because the explanation would basically be an admission of war crimes. There is absolutely no question about it. Bush/Cheney and the neocons are guilty of massive war crimes. The entire world knows it. Our own Senators and Congresspersons know it. Bush/Cheney and the neocons know it. The problem is not that we don't know about it, the problem is no one seems willing or able to do anything about it. With all elements of government controlled by Republicans, and with none of them with even one iota of honor or genuine patriotism, nothing can happen. Impeachment has to begin in the House. The House is controlled by Republicans, Republicans that so far have made it clear they care more about power and party than they care about the nation and its people. By now the situation in American politics has become so overwhelmingly corrupt it is not at all clear what could even be done about it - short of some kind of civil war or revolution.

Jack Abramoff has finally been indicted for bank fraud. He is a close buddy of DeLay. There doesn't seem to be much doubt about the behavior of this slimeball, not only with respect to bank fraud but other criminal acts as well. But no doubt like Ken Lay and the Enron scandal, by the time it plays out in court (if it even does) the principals will all be in their nineties and the consequences, if any, will be moot.

It also seems pretty clear that Pat Roberts, the Republican head of the intelligence committee, has gone out of his way to "fix" the intelligence in such a way as to exonerate the White House and shift the blame to Democrats and the CIA and/or FBI. Of course this says nothing about the Rove scandal, the Gannon/Guckert scandal, the Edmonds scandal, the energy scandal, the highway scandal, the national debt scandal, the environmental scandal, the 9/11 scandal, the medicare scandal, the energy scandal, and who knows what all else scandals. And, of course, the greatest scandal of all - Iraq. In spite of all this, which is all now pretty well known by anyone with a brain larger than a split pea, nothing is being done about it. Democrats do nothing. Republicans, who you might think might want to cure this cancer, do nothing. The American public does nothing.

I guess it must be true. You get the government you deserve.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Go Cindy!

I love it! Cindy Sheehan has the chimp right where he needs to be, hiding in his lair waiting for someone to come and save him. He doesn't dare come out to speak with her because he would have to expose the truth about Iraq and his phony "war." What can he say about the "noble cause?" We illegally attacked this virtually helpless country because we wanted to control their oil? Not likely. All he can say is the usual bullshit about democracy, getting rid of a dictator, the world is better off, things are going well but we have to finish the job, bs, bs. bs. And it appears that more and more people are going to join Sheehan at Crawford while even more people are aiding her efforts in other ways. I can hardly wait until tomorrow when they arrest her. Oh, how I hope they arrest her. I want to hear the rationale for that. If her arrest doesn't expose Bush/Cheney for the evil bastards they are I can't imagine what will. Of course they could arrest her, have her drawn and quartered at high noon at the Washington Monument, and the so-called Republican base would cheer and high-five.

The Cuban five may finally be getting justice. Edmonds is appealing her situation to the Supreme Court. The Canadian who was illegally sent to Syria and tortured is suing Rumsfeld, Rove is by no means out of the woods, Novak has been put in his place, Judith Miller is increasingly exposed as a fraud, and things may be picking up with respect to the Roberts nomination. These are interesting if not happy times.

Woodward has recently suggested that Dick Cheney may be the Republican nominee for president in 2008. I don't know if he has completely flipped his lid or what. Dick the Slimy could only run for president if he already knows the election would be fixed in his favor. Otherwise it would make no sense whatsoever. Arguably the most evil man in the world with a heart condition running for president of the United States? Woodward has increasingly shown signs of having sipped the kool aid. But I said Ronald Reagan could never be elected president. And Mencken did say "no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Dick the Slimy versus Hilary (Wal Mart) Clinton. Run for the woods!

"All men lead their lives behind a wall of misunderstanding they themselves have built, and most men die in silence and unnoticed behind the walls."
Sherwood Anderson
Poor White, Book 4

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Cowardly Lion trapped in his lair

Oh boy! Excitement! A grieving war mother has marched on Crawford,Texas, where our phony president is enjoying his unprecedented five week vacation while his "war" is waging in Iraq and his administration is about to come apart. Cindy Sheehan is camped out near the president's ranch and is demanding a face-to-face meeting with the chimp so he can explain to her what a "noble cause" is. So far he has refused to come out to discuss it. Indeed, according to the DailyKos, she has been told she will be arrested on thursday as a threat to national security if she doesn't give up(I don't know if this is really true or not). Assuming that it might be true, try to imagine having a grieving war mother camped out in a ditch with a few supporters arrested as a threat to national security. A public nuisance perhaps? Disturbing the peace? Illegal camping? Failing to obey the Sheriff's absurd demands? But a threat to national security? Come on, give us a break. If Bush gets away with something like this you can be certain fascism is in complete control.

This will be all the more interesting in that people are traveling to Crawford from everywhere to support her and donating money liberally. Indeed, web sites are so busy at the moment you can't even get on to donate. This might turn out to be even bigger than the huge march on the White House scheduled for September 24th. It might even be the spark that sets off the coming civil war.

What I don't understand is why Bush doesn't buckle on his six guns and swagger out to defend the country from this threat to our national security. It's high noon, the enemy is right out there, it's up to him to protect us, he can't just run away, can he? Oh yeah, I forgot, it's not Gary Cooper who had no one else to fight his battle for him. Our champion can just have these dangerous free speech advocates arrested, charged with no crimes, incarcerated for life, given no lawyers, and perhaps even shipped away to some other country where torture is routine. It would serve them right, questioning our infallible, never-makes-a-mistake fuehrer.

This country is sick. And the sickness begins at the top and infects everything else right down to the bottom of the chain, from the CEO's of our huge corporations to the fools who watch Fox News, listen to Rush Limbaugh, and spend their money on Wal Mart junk.

Support Cindy Sheehan and Patrick Fitzgerald with your life. It's quite likely our only hope.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Are the wheels finally coming off?

In spite of their attempts to claim recent successes, such as the Energy bill, the Highway bill, and the renewal of the so-called Patriot Act, it appears to me that finally, at long last, the wheels may be starting to fall off the Bush/Cheney administration. Cheney seems not to emerged from under his rock lately, Bush is holed up on his fake ranch afraid to face the mother of a dead soldier, the Rove scandal shows no sign of disappearing in spite on the MSM attempts to ignore it, Novak took his ball and went home on national TV, there is a group of elder politicians who are going after DeLay, Rick Santorum (of all people) was featured at the Republican summer meetings in San Francisco, and they are going to try to run an attack dog against Hilary, not because she has a chance to win, but to "bloody" Hilary before the 2008 presidential race. And by the way, things are not going well in either Afghanistan or Iraq, Iran is thumbing their nose at the U.S., and the Gaza strip is about to erupt in even more violence. No one is paying any attention to Condi Rice who continues to trot around the world telling everyone how they ought to behave. Perle, Wolfowitz, and others have been remarkably silent for a long time, and Bolton apparently already threw a fit at the U.N. because of peanuts he was given in a bar. Wow! Things are certainly in a mess. But not to worry, Bush will have another direct conversation with God, especially about the problem with intelligent design. If this business wasn't so serious you would have to think it was a case of the Keystone Cops meeting the Marx Brothers on the set of Abbot and Costello versus Godzilla, script by W.C. Fields in collaboration with Mae West, directed by the village idiot.

On a lighter (ha ha) historical note consider the following account from the archives of our now happy and friendly little town:

"On saturday, June 4, 1892, Chinese residents of the town were ordered by the citizens to gather at the corner of Main and Kootenai streets. A special Great Northern train, consisting of an engine, two box cars and a caboose were waiting on the tracks for its passengers.
Before ten in the evening 48 Chinese and their luggage were loaded into the box cars and as the train pulled out there was cheer after cheer from the people of Bonners Ferry. The local newspaper was even more brutal with the "heathen Chinese" than it had been with the Kootenai Indians. Destination of the 48 Chinese men, women, and children in the two box cars went unrecorded."

History of Boundary County, Idaho

I think it went unrecorded because they were too busy hanging Indians. In any case, we don't hear much about this anymore. Ah, history. Ah, humankind. Ah, Intelligent Design.

"For there are kinds of music that the world should not hear."

Whittaker Chambers

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Republicans carry on

It turns out that on July 8, 2003, two days after Wilson's article critical of the yellowcake business appeared, Judy Miller met with Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff, to discuss, of all things, Valerie Plame. Would someone please explain to me what business Miller had discussing Plame with Libby. Why would they have been discussing Plame at all? What business would a reporter have that she should have been discussing Plame? What business would Libby have had discussing a CIA operative with a newspaper reporter? Is it necessary to say anything more about this? If so, you must be dense indeed.

A woman whose son was killed in Iraq has gone to Crawford, Texas, the location of Bush's fake ranch, to ask the President to explain to her why her son needed to be killed. Bush insists that all those who have died in this horrible "war" have died for a noble cause. She would like to know what that noble cause is/was. So would I. Bush has refused to meet with her. She and some Veterans for Peace wanted to march on the ranch. They were ordered to walk in a ditch rather than on a public road. She insists she will not leave until Bush speaks with her. This is going to be interesting if she sticks to her guns. Want to bet she doesn't get arrested and carted off somewhere? Freedom of speech used to be such a wonderful thing.

At the Republican summer meeting in San Francisco they apparently decided their ultra right wing platform is the way to go. Their guest of honor, that example of what Republicans seem to think is their best representative, Rick (opposed to bestiality along with most everything else) Santorum. He gave his speech on family values (at least I think that's what he did), trying, among other things, to expand the Republican base to include blacks and "discerning democrats." There were 5 blacks in attendance out of an audience of 300.

You had better keep your eyes closely on Patrick Fitzgerald and his investigation of the Plame leak. As the Attorney General has recused himself, and whoever else was in charge of Fitzgerald has resigned, it is not clear who will be in charge of supervising Fitzgerald. One possibility is an old Skull and Bones crony of Bush. It is suggested that Fitzgerald might just submit a "report" rather than seek any indictments. As Fitzgerald is probably the only person who stands between a complete fascist takeover and justice we had better all look after his health and welfare.

"Humani's skepticism was substantial. He knew that men are a joke of the gods, sent to mortify the animals."
Abel Posse
The Dogs of Paradise

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Suicidal Republicans

According to a new Newsweek poll 61% of Americans now disaprove of Bush's handling of the "war" in Iraq. Does this make any difference to anyone? Apparently not.

Bush has now indicated that he thinks "Intelligent Design" should be taught in the schools along with evolution as that way somehow students will understand "what the debate is about." What debate? There is no debate over evolution versus Intelligent Design. One view is a respected scientific theory and the other is simply nonsensical fantasy. A debate over the age of the earth? Please. A debate over whether or not dinosaurs existed? How about a debate over whether the sounds of the piano are made by little angels dancing on the piano strings? Or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Better yet, how about a debate over whether or not Bush actually communicates with God? One thing I believe we might be certain about: if there was such a thing as intelligent design human beings would never have been created.

Now that we have allowed the Shiites to take control of Iraq and are about to draft a purely democratic constitution, we are insisting that it has to include equal rights for women. I am all for equal rights for women, indeed, even for democrats, but what business do we have telling them what their constitution should say? After all, it is presumably THEIR constitution. Bush/Cheney have never had any belief the Iraqis should draft a constitution without our supervision. Just as they have never had any intention of leaving Iraq without controlling that unfortunate country.

The Justice Department has now announced they have no intention of turning over Robert's papers the Democrats have requested. That's it. They have just refused. So what happens now? This seems to indicate that although Roberts appointment was on track with little controversy there is now going to be an incredible battle over access to these papers. Why is the Justice Department doing this? Could it be they have something they want to keep hidden? Could it be that president Cheney wants to prove once again that he alone rules? Or is it simply that Republicans have decided to provoke an actual civil war? I fear that if at least some Republicans don't step forward to save their party it may well come to some form of drastic action. There is an upper limit to frustration. Just witness the 50% divorce rate in the United States. Only Republicans now have the power to do something about this arrogant totally out-of-control administration. If they continue to mindlessly put party above country they will go down in history as those responsible for the destruction of the greatest democracy that ever existed, however briefly.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Pardon me, but I can't help but wonder if a President with a competence rating of only 38% should be allowed to even nominate someone for the Supreme Court. Not only are his poll numbers so low but there are increasing rumblings that he should be impeached. So why should he be allowed to just "carry on business as usual?" Could we not delay the nomination for a while until it becomes more clear what might happen to our gloriously stubborn and mentally handicapped "leader?"

More of our troops are dying every day. It's obvious there will never be a military solution to the Iraq "war." But what does the idiot-in-chief say: "stay the course, we'll never retreat, we're winning, things are going well, they are in the last throes of the insurgency, blah, blah, blah." And all of this coming from his fake ranch in Texas where he is taking a month long vacation. Actually, we may be better off when he's on vacation because when he's supposedly working he constantly makes things worse. Bush is the most hopelessly incompetent President in the history of the United States. I guess in a sense it's not his fault. Being lazy and dim-witted he just does what Cheney/Rove tell him to do. Why the American public continues to put up with these evil bastards is utterly beyond my comprehension. Why the Republican party puts up with this disastrous administration is also beyond my ability to understand. They are surely going to destroy the Republican party, possibly forever, just as they have already destroyed the reputation of the United States. The entire world loathes this American administration and they are increasingly coming to loathe Americans in general (particulary as they cannot understand why we continue to support these obvious war criminals).

I once, early in the discussion of "war" with Iraq, saw a bumper sticker which read, "Nuke their ass and steal their gas." At the time I thought this was just some incredibly ignorant individual crank expressing an outrageous opinion in order to get some attention. I didn't realize he was apparently speaking for the American public at large. Bush/Cheney and the neocons are war criminals, pure and simple. They should be held fully accountable for the horrors they have wrought. No more business as usual.

The strong wind driving the snow
across the landscape in the misty morning light,
reminds me once more
how desire drives me to you.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A noble cause?

Bush, apparently speaking to one of his carefully screened audiences in Texas, reportedly said to someone (or more) who had lost a child (or children) to the Iraq "war," they had died fighting for a "noble cause." I'm sorry to have to say it, but that is utter bullshit. I understand how someone who has lost a child fighting in Iraq would want to believe, indeed, would absolutely cling to the belief, that their child died fighting for a noble cause. Obviously no one would want to have to believe their child died fighting for an ignoble cause. But if their child died fighting in Iraq I'm sad to say that is what happened.

The Bush/Cheney/neocon attack on Iraq was a cowardly, illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, criminal act that had nothing to do with the so-called "war on terrorism." Iraq was not involved in the 9/11 attack on the twin towers. Iraq had no ties to bin Laden. Iraq was not a threat to the United States or even any of their neighbors. Decimated by years of sanctions, feeble and unable to adequately defend themselves, Iraq was a prime target for greedy imperialistic warmongers who saw an opportunity to control the second largest oil reserves in the world and probably control the oil supply in all of the Middle East. And by doing so they could also deny oil to China, India, Russia and others, all nations who would be demanding more and more oil in the future. It was a grand scheme and they have not given up on it yet. They have no intention of getting out of Iraq, at least not until they have established a puppet government and enough permanent bases to make sure it all works the way they wish. There is nothing noble whatsoever about this.

One cannot help but feel terrible about the loss of life that has occurred in Iraq, both American and Iraqi. I am sure it must be absoluely devastating to have lost a child in this undeclared and illegal "war." But I see no way one could possibly conclude that any noble cause was involved. I suppose one could argue that now they are fighting "terrorists," but there were no such terrorists in Iraq until we unconscionably attacked there. Furthermore, why are people trying to defend their country from foreign occupiers considered terrorists? We are the invaders, the terrorists. The behavior of our troops in Iraq makes this entirely clear. Our invasion of this sovereign nation and our treatment of Iraqi civilians will quite probably never be forgiven. Never!

There is no way this can be spun into a "noble cause." And the argument that we cannot just "cut and run" because of international law is at this point simply laughable. We have totally ignored international law up until now, violated virtually every rule and law involved, and now we want to claim to have to observe international law? And we also pretend to be concerned about what would happen to Iraq if we left? What concern did we have for Iraq when we engaged in this miserable and illegal invasion? If we ever had any moral high ground in world affairs (a myth of monumental proportions) we have certainly forfeited it by now. Unless Bush/Cheney and their gang of international thugs are held responsible for their crimes there is no chance the United States can ever recover its place in the international community, no matter how strong our military might be. You cannot force your desires and beliefs on others by brute strength. If we didn't realize this before Iraq is surely reminding us of this basic fact.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Church of the Great Mystery - essay

I simply cannot deal with politics tonight. Please bear with me.

My religious training has been, shall we say, limited. My father did not attend any church. He rationalized this by saying that as he made his living as a gambler it would be hypocritical (actually, I think he recognized a great con when he saw one). My mother did not attend church, she said, because she was deaf and couldn’t hear the sermons. She tried to read the bible but finally one day put it down saying, “I don’t believe any of this.”
I guess my parents felt some kind of guilt over their failure to be churchgoers, or perhaps it was simply because they didn’t want the neighbors criticizing their childrearing, but, in any case, they decided when I was about six years of age, that I should attend Sunday School. Although my mother had been baptized a Lutheran (I don’t know if my father had been baptized) the local Lutheran church was not very close to our home. They settled on the nearest church. It was on the corner only three doors away. I believe it was a Congregational Church. So on Sunday morning my mother would dress me in my best and send me to Sunday school. I actually attended two or three times before I became completely bored. Even the huge sandbox in the basement could not hold my attention (I thought it was pretty stupid having a sandbox in the basement when the whole outdoors beckoned). I soon learned that if you just presented yourself at the front door and picked up the schedule or whatever it was, you could then run off and play for an hour before going home and turning over your false evidence of attendance. This worked only for a very short time as someone in the congregation squealed on me. My parents decided it was no use and never again sent me to Sunday School.
Thus it was that I developed no belief in organized religion or God. As I grew older and learned more and more about the religion beliefs of my friends and neighbors the less I wanted anything to do with any form of organized religion (or even any disorganized religion for that matter). At the same time, however, I intuitively sensed I might be religious in some very fundamental way. Then one day when I was well into adulthood I finally saw something religious that appealed directly to my nascent religious nature. It was a photograph by Edward Curtis of a Plains Indian holding a buffalo skull and captioned, “A Prayer to the Great Mystery.” The Great Mystery! Marvelous! I determined at that moment that if I were ever (highly unlikely) to be affiliated with a church it would have to be The Church of the Great Mystery. It seemed obvious to me the Indian was thanking the Great Mystery for the yearly return of the buffalo and other game, the use of the land and water, the marvelous plants and flowers, and all of the other benevolent features of human life we enjoy and depend on, on this mysterious planet blessed with a sun, suspended in infinite space, and spinning in an endless but predictable cycle of growth and decay.
Think of it. It’s the perfect solution for the seemingly irreligious. It represents a perfect amount of reverential awe with an accompanying sense of humility and insignificance. It requires no ostentatious church buildings, no collection plates or demands on the poor for money they could better use elsewhere. You don’t need fancy icons, statues, altars, virgins, angels, cherubs, saints, or other such objects or paraphernalia. More importantly it doesn’t demand speculation about whether or not there is a God, one God, several, or many, whether God is male, whether or not there can also be female gods, and if so, do they have two arms or many. It doesn’t concern itself with whether God is called Allah or Jesus, Yahweh, God, Buddha, Tammuz, Adonis, or whatever. Nor does it concern itself with profound religious questions as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or if calico cats represent the devil. But the best part is, it's impossible for anyone to argue the Great Mystery doesn’t exist. You may well not believe that God is an old white man with a long beard, or that heaven is populated with angels, or that hell is a real possibility because satan exists, but how could you possibly argue the Great Mystery doesn’t exist?
What is even better is that you don’t have to have a bunch of old men dressing up in very expensive medieval gowns and funny hats and walking around all serious-faced and self-important. Nor do you have to have holy water, be immersed in water, be sprinkled on the head with it, or whatever. And you never have to listen to “Drop Kick me Jesus Through the Goal Posts of Life,” or “put one hand on the radio and one hand on the afflicted part,” or “if you don’t believe this you will go straight to hell.” Better yet, there is no speaking in tongues, handling snakes, staring at the sun, sleeping on nails, crawling miles to the temple, or self-flaggelation.
I admit to be completely unable to relate to people who believe the bible is literally true. In fact, I don’t believe such people should be allowed to vote. If they cannot appreciate the age of the earth and the cosmos, the existence of dinosaurs, the evolution of species and humankind, the diversity of life and belief, and tolerance for such diversity, they can go on killing each other in the name of this or that religion and believing that only they have the “truth,” forever. Admit it, it’s all part of the Great Mystery that none of us can even hope to understand. Oh, yeah, I forgot, except for the fundamentalists who know the truth about everything.